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Tea phytonutrients in multiple extractions?

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  • Tea phytonutrients in multiple extractions?

    I've been drinking green and oolong teas about 3x per day, going through my special order teas at an alarming rate. Recently I decided to try doing multiple extractions. I know that with each extraction the caffeine is less, but I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about the benefits of the 2nd or 3rd extraction vs. the first regarding phytonutrients that research has tagged as helping reduce blood sugar and promote fat loss.

    Am I harvesting additional benefits along with additional tea, or are the 2nd & 3rd extractions pretty much just weak versions of the first, in terms of beneficial components? It tastes fine and costs less. I'm just curious about what I'm actually drinking when I extract more tea from the same amount of leaves.

  • #2
    When properly brewed for their second and third, even fourth, round (depending on the type of leaf)you will find that the flavor profile changes and new nuances come out... it's NOT just a weaker version of the same flavor.

    Multiple brewings of the premium whole leaf teas is very traditional.
    It's the way I have always done it...
    And the way recommended to me by my friend who's close friends go to select premium tea from farms themselves (owners of Teance in SF)
    I don't think that you are hurting anything by doing that... and as long as you are extracting flavor, you are certainly extracting some good chemical compounds IMO.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche
    And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.


    • #3
      Multiple extractions are normal. Following the principles of osmosis, there will still be a fair amount opolyphenols in at least the second if not also the third brews. In fact, caffeine is largely in the first brew with a few antioxidants. But as caffeine gets less with each subsiquent brewing, other phytonutrients such as the polyphenoly antioxidants and minerals will replace it.

      Just for reference:

      Black tea steeps once, with the exception of VERY tippy blacks which can sometimes steep twice with two-minute infusion times each.

      White and green tea can steep 2-3 times, using SLIGHTLY hotter water and increasing steep times by 15-30 seconds each infusion for most Chinese greens and whites.

      Japanese green teas (like bancha, sencha, and gyukoro) will steep two or three times, but keep brewing time roughly equivilent each brewing and use COOLER water fir each subsiquent infusion.

      Oolong teas are traditionally brewed 4-6 times depending on the type of oolong used. Keep temp and brewing time roughly equivalent for the first two or three brews, then increase brewing time by 15-30 seconds for further infusions.

      Pu'erh teas need boiling water straight out of the pot and can infuse as many as 15 or more times.

      Resteeping is traditional. The changing flavor profiles from additional brewing actually mean different nutrient contents in each cup of tea. The general rule of thumb is to keep resteeping the leaves until there is no flavor left in the brew. No flavor usually means that you have extracted as much of the nutrients out of the tea as you will be likely to get.

      And resteeping is good on the wallet too! A $1.40 cup of tea will, if resteeped, say three times, become $0.40 a cup. And if it's an oolong or a pu'erh that can steep even more, well then... You get the point.
      "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."